Category Archives: Art exhibits

Top 5 Art Maintenance Tips for Summer

This summer’s been no joke. With 100 degree days and intense humidity levels, we’re all suffering. If you haven’t looked at your art collection in a while, take them off the wall and inspect them. Here are some key tips to making sure that your wall pieces stay healthy and intact in the summer heat.

1. Check all works on paper for foxing, light brown or reddish dots on the outer edges. This is actually mold attacking your paper and needs attention immediatley. With intense sunlight and high humidity this is a common cause of longterm damage. Call your local conservator (we recommend one if you’re in the Ann Arbor area – The Art Conservation Laboratory). They’ll be able to stabilize the mold and stop it from continuing. Never try to tackle this delicate task on your own!

2. Is your oil, watercolor, etching in direct sunlight? If so, consider having it framed under museum glass which protects it from the sun’s rays. Long term effects of UV damage include fading, cracking in paint and deterioration of the paint itself. If you’d rather not spend the money to do so, consider hanging the piece in a different spot…

3. But not in a spot under the air conditioning vent. Just as humidity and sunlight can hurt your art, as can intense cold temperature which could cause paint to crack or photo paper to become needlessly brittle and fragile.

4. Does your oil painting seem a bit duller than you remembered when you bought it? Summer’s a great time to take your paintings in for a good cleaning. Only conservationists know how to clean a painting so leave it to the pros. Even what you believe to be a “light dusting” can hurt the integrity of the paint.

5. Check the backs of all your art work. If the lining on the back of the frame seems rippled or has unsealed itself from the edges due to humidity, take it in to the framer to make sure no condensation is forming on the interior of the piece.

These simple steps will ensure your art work can be enjoyed for years (and many sweltering summers) to come! And if you have further questions, feel free to shoot me an email.

-Y-

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Event: Art Lecture at Ann Arbor District Library

I had the pleasure of speaking at the Ann Arbor District Library last night about the ins and outs of starting a collection and what to look for when purchasing paintings, prints and drawings.

Collecting should be an art unto itself, pieces thoughtfully chosen for their content rather than for their complementary qualities to the furniture in the room. My main points included looking at genre (style) of art, mediums, value and how to make collecting relevant for you. Attendees had great questions and seemed to have a firm grasp of the direction of the art scene. We also got to speak with a few collectors about the things they were wondering about in their home.

By the end of the evening, I was happy to share my personal collecting mantra:

Thank you, Ann Arbor District Library and Cecile for your partnership and efforts!

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TONIGHT! Event: Launch of our Art Prints + Photos

We’re really excited about the launch of our prints and photos being offered at June Moon Furniture in Berkley, Michigan. Maureen Popkin offers a variety of homewares, furniture and found objects (she specializes in antique globes – how cool is that!?) If you’re in the area, please stop in to introduce yourself! See you there.

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Exploring: Ross Art Collection

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan (known as Ross) is an impressive institution for many reasons. In 2004, a $100 million contribution was made by Mr. Ross and included with the new building came the promise of an expansive art collection. Over 250 works line the halls including two larger-than-life metal horse sculptures by Deborah Butterfield in the lobby. We had walked by and peeked at the Butterfields many times but we finally made a concerted effort with our great friend, Chris Johnson, owner of Johnsonese Brokerage a couple weeks ago. We were engaged by the breadth of mediums from photography to sculpture to prints. Here are some highlights.*

Reserve at least two hours to find treasures on every floor. If you love visiting the UM Museum of Art, you’ll certainly appreciate the contemporary collection at Ross.

*These were taken with a point + shoot.

-Y-

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Digital Drawing: A Modern Alphabet

A lot of people have asked me how I create my drawings digitally so today I’m going to give you a quick tour of how it’s done. I have to preface this by saying that I love drawing with pencil and paper (nothing compares to it) especially when you’re doing life drawings of nudes and still life. That said, the mouse has become a great tool for illustrating the concepts I have in my mind in a hyper-realist way that prints in rich, saturated colors, lending a quality of manufactured perfection that I adore in fashion magazines. But it’s a process like everything else and while changes are a “click of a mouse” away, sometimes it’s more laborious than traditional drawing. For most projects I use Adobe Illustrator and sometimes Adobe Photoshop. Both are integral to our company’s success and everyday function.

My latest project sparked from our obsession with mid-century furniture and objects. We’re heavily into everyday objects of that era and earlier. I couldn’t get over my need to illustrate the shapes and lines of some of my favorite pieces so I started drawing the Diamond chair by Harry Bertoia (1915-1978), an icon of Modern era pieces. With its curved chrome rods contouring to the body and guiding the eyes back and forth, it’s the perfect marriage of form and function. The idea of illustrating struck immediately as I saw the finished chair (second from the top left, in place of the “B”).

Here you see the process in picking colors and infinite possibilities, even digitally-speaking.

Once a piece or designer comes to mind that I want to recreate, I bring in a digital photo to help me shape the outline.

I literally use the mouse and “draw” with it on the mousepad.

With a computer, instead of using an eraser (although there’s one of those too), I click to straighten, curve or reposition each line segment individually. Above, I’m fixing the angle of a line that I drew previously. (I think this takes longer than drawing with a pencil)!

I’m making final adjustments so that all letters and furniture pieces are balanced using the graph and ruler tools. I think this project took me about twenty hours to create.

The final poster is printed on heavyweight archival photographic paper with professional grade inks. It’s 18 x 12 inches and I’m incredibly  proud of this limited edition run of 50. I can’t wait to get one framed and hang it in our home too! If you’re in the area, we’ll be offering the poster (A Modern Alphabet, $65) along with other custom works at our opening at June Moon Furniture on May 3rd. I’ll be on hand signing prints and giving advice on framing, hanging, collecting and more!

-Y-

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Festifools: A Night of Creative Debauchery

Last night we ventured out to Festifools, a  “non-profit production of the STARTProject, a University of Michigan Lloyd Hall Scholars Program initiative”. From papier maché costumes to handheld luminaries and projection art, we were having a darn good time. (Please excuse the shaky camera movement and underexposed shots – we only had our point and shoot).

Fantastic shadow puppetry

A neon projector

There was a lot of costumery

We made a new friend.

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Our Latest Project: Objet D’art | One-of-a-kind art objects

We met with Sava’s Restaurant in Ann Arbor last week and we’re happy to announce that we’ll be taking over the upstairs lounge area with our art. We’ve never curated a non-gallery setting like this and we’re really excited to collaborate and match the ultra contemporary and comfy look. We got on it immediately. After a quick brainstorming session, the series Objet D’art was born. This also gave us a chance to print and frame our new series of school desk prints.

Each item is a print illustrated or photo taken by us and carefully hand matted with coordinating accessories. Whether you see one or in a grouping, we’re making an experience that we, and hopefully you, have never seen before.

We’ll be hanging things salon-style but adapted to the space to get the most beautiful effect. Since we have long spaces to cover, our groupings will be spaced out with most pieces centered at 60 inches from the ground, the professional standard for installing art.

What do you think of these? We’re looking for some feedback before the big installation takes place. Right now we’re just enjoying having “piles” of art around the studio. Soon we’ll have them in our store too. Have a great weekend!

-Y-

OBJECT D’ART – (dimensions denote frame size, shipping is extra)  5 x 7 inch : $25 and up  |  8 x 10 inch: $45 and up  |  Pairs of 8 x 10 inch: $80 and up

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Robert Rauschenberg: Grand Rapids Art Museum

In 2007 I had the pleasure of publicizing a great series of works by Robert Rauschenberg called Currents. Created during the winter of 1970, he clipped disturbing and attention grabbing headlines from various national newspapers, arranging them in aesthetically pleasing and titillating fashion and translated them into photographic prints. Based on the social, political and financial turmoil of the times, he covered events through his clippings in a way that fed that the news in a palatable way, urging viewers to come in for a closer look.

The Grand Rapids Art Museum is currently showing and hosting a myriad of events surrounding the works of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. From now until May 20th, 2012, you can join in the conversation and see the pieces from his time at Gemini, a major print studio and collective in Los Angeles.

While he’s known for his prints and multiples, his most sought-after and profound works were his combines, objects joined and manipulated to be read in a totally new context altogether. Rauschenberg passed away a year after I installed his show at the gallery where I was. With his passing he leaves behind a legacy of process and collaboration that brought together great thinkers such as John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Cy Twombly and most notably Jasper Johns. I’m looking forward to seeing the exhibit. I hope you will too.


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Print or Reproduction: What’s the Difference?

We all know what a painting is. It’s an original work, one-of-a-kind piece in watercolor, oil, acrylic or a number of combinations.

But I still hear questions about what the differences are between a print and reproduction. You wouldn’t believe the number of times that someone has asked me to look at something in a frame that turned out to be a poster. First and foremost, take your piece out of the frame. If you see a © or ™ anywhere on the paper, it’s a reproduction, a licensed copy that a museum or company has paid to produce by machine. If you see name of a museum on the image itself, there’s no need to take it out. An artist wouldn’t have included it on an original piece of work. Meaning, this isn’t worth anything except the value of enjoyment you get out of it.

A poster of Adolph Dehn’s Central Park from the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

When an artist or curator speaks of a “print,” they’re talking about a laborious process that includes many steps. There are many types of prints but the most common are lithographs made by drawing on a limestone plate or an intaglio print or etching made by marks on a metal/copper plate that go through multiple steps in acid baths and/or other methods. These types of prints are conceived, produced and managed by an artist that may later pass on the actual execution to an apprentice or assistant. But this type of work is highly controlled and involves extreme workmanship, similar to the way a painting is produced.

An artist wiping her plates after inking them in the intaglio print process. Philagraphika

The results of a lithograph, etching, monoprint, woodcut differ greatly, but each are usually editioned, meaning numbered and signed by the artist. The smaller number of prints, the more valuable a print is. The number that you acquire will be written over the number of prints circulating. For example, if you buy the fifth out of 100, a mark of “5/100” will be written generally in a bottom corner.

An intaglio etching, Johann Wilhelm Schirmer's Aus dem Park Chigi, 19th century

Because digital technology has made a huge impact on art today, there are mediums such as giclées, inkject printed canvases of original paintings or prints flooding the marketplace. They generally will not make a financial return in investment terms. There are rare instances when a popular contemporary artist may offer a limited run of giclées which may garner a financial return. But I wouldn’t count on it.

We sell archival inkjet prints and photographs in our store. All our products are printed on acid-free paper and will last for decades to come. We painstakingly sketch, illustrate and shoot each of our items that are numbered and hand-signed. And because we’re full service, we consult, install and maintain your pieces over time. Enjoy.

Nicholas Azzaro, Winter 013

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Bye American

“I was born in ______ in the United States of America. My skin is ______ and I’m a ______, and believe in  ______. I work ______ and pay ______ and don’t believe in ______. I exercise my right to ______ and appreciate the ______ of those before me. I eat ______ and am not scared of all of the ______. I feel that ______ should be free and that ______ is our choice. I’m not for ______ intervention, but feel that ______ is necessary. I know that ______ don’t get paid enough, while ______ live lavish lifestyles. Each night I watch the ______ only to see ______ over and over again. To me, it’s obvious this country has forgotten how to ______.”

-______

Nick Azzaro ©

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